Jig saws are used for cutting precise curves in metal, particleboard, plastic, ceramic tiles and wood. In contrast to other types of saws which are capable of cutting only in straight line, these saws are able to cut in constant curve and produce arcs, circles and other shapes.
The type of blade used determines the amount of detail that can be created, as for example, if finer teeth are used then intricate patterns can be formed in soft wood whereas more sturdy blades are used for cutting hardwood and metal.
Some of the common features to look out for while buying jig saws would include:
- Variable Speed: It is an important feature that allows the user to change the speed of the blade based upon the type of material that is being cut. Most of the jig saws have a SPM (strokes per minute) of 500-3500.
- Orbital Action: Normally the blade moves up and down but with orbital action, the blade will also move front to back and help to cut wood faster.
- Blade Changing: At the time of purchasing a jigsaw check if it comes with tool free blade changing functionality.
Jig Saw Types
Jig saws commonly have barrel grip handle or top grip D-handle. Let us now look at different types of jig saws that are available.
- Corded: These operate on electricity and are quite powerful, capable of cutting thicker materials.
- Cordless: These run on battery and are comparatively less powerful than the corded jigsaws. But the benefit is that they are a lot more portable and you can take them anywhere you want.
- Pneumatic: These are air powered instead of electricity and when used with the right air compressor, they can be quite powerful. The other advantage of pneumatic saws is that they are lighter and can be safely used in damp areas.
Different Sizes of Jig Saw
In terms of size the blade width plays an important part, as for example, if required to turn tight corners then narrow scrolling blades are quite useful. Similarly, if cut is to be made in straight line and the material is thick then wider blades will have to be used.
Uses of Jig Saw
Jig Saws can be used to cut different types of materials such as:
- Wood, hard as well as soft
- Metals, such as steel and aluminum
- Ceramic and glass
- Fiberglass as well as plexiglass
- Masonry materials like concrete, plaster and marble
- Paper products such as cardboard
- Thicker fabrics like leather
Jig Saw Blades
Selection of blade should be based on the type of material which is to be cut and the way it is to be cut. If a wrong blade is used then it may result in unsatisfactory results or may cause the blade to break. We will now look at two aspects of jig saw blades; its material and teeth.
- Blade Material: The blades are made using different materials ranging from high carbon steel, tungsten carbide to bi-metal. If you would like to cut softwood then steel blades are the most suitable option while bi-metal blades will be useful for cutting hardwood and hard metals. Tungsten carbide blades are especially used for cutting the most difficult of materials such as ceramic and other similar masonry products.
- Blade Teeth: Blade teeth are measured in the form of teeth per inch (TPI). The TPI decides the kind of material that blade will be able to cut, how fine the cut will be and the speed at which the material can be cut. For soft material, blades with 6-20 TPI are suitable whereas 14-36 TPI is required for harder materials like ceramic or steel.
Jig Saw Safety Rules
Few of the safety rules you need to keep in mind while working with jig saw include:
- Wear safety glasses
- Unplug the jigsaw or remove batteries if it is cordless saw before any adjustments are made.
- Make use of safety lock for the blade and keep it locked when saw is not being used.
- Have adequate support close to line of cut, be it solid lumber or paneling work you are undertaking.
Factors to consider when buying Jig Saw
At the time of buying a jig saw you will have to determine the purpose for which it is to be used since the type of blade you use will depend on that. You also need to decide between using a corded, pneumatic or cordless jigsaw depending upon the material to be cut.
It will also be useful if the jigsaw comes with a dust port which can be connected to a vacuum to suck in the sawdust.
Always check for the number of strokes per minute, SPM: the number of strokes per minute provides the highest performing speed that a jib saw can provide. This is, therefore, important and you should make sure that it is up to standards. Most jig saws will have 500-3100 SPM.
Ask for a Product Warranty: a warranty is very important since the jig saw you purchase can break down after some time. You will need to return it and get another when you have a warranty.
Read product reviews: product reviews provide a good peek into what you will be using. You should, therefore, make sure that you read as many as possible to get the positive and negative features of the jig saw you are buying.
Only these reviews will give you first hand information when it comes to the jig saw’s stability, accuracy, performance of its blades, any faults with its construction and so many other important details that you need to know.
Consider buying from a renown brand: there are so many brands out there, but not all of them offer what you would want. You should, therefore, make sure that you purchase from a renowned brand, so that to get great after sale service and a high quality jig saw.
There are so many factors that you should consider when it comes to purchasing a good jig saw. However, you should always make sure that you do your research right. Ensure that you look into more than one type of a jig saw and make your decision on the best one to buy, based on your type of work.
Some of the jig saws that you can check include the Black & Decker JS700K 5.5 Amp Top Handle Jig Saw and the Makita 4329K 3.9 Amp Variable Speed Top Handle Jig Saw.
As we can see that jig saws are the most suitable option in case you plan to create intricate designs or cut out curves or circles which other types of saws are unable to do. The right type of blade will help to easily perform any cutting job, be it hardwood or soft material.
Jig saw by Brands
- Black and decker jig saw
- Bosch jig saw
- Dewalt jig saw
- Porter cable jig saw
- Milwaukee jig saw
- Ryobi jig saw
- Skil jig saw
- Hitachi jig saw
- Festool jig saw